Listening Maps for Elementary Music

Listening maps are perfect for helping elementary music students understand melodic contour, texture, form, style, and other elements of music. They also help students learn about instruments of the orchestra and the timbre and tone color of instruments.

Listening maps are easy for teachers to assign and students to complete in the classroom, for homeschool, flipped learning, or blended learning situations. For accountability, students can easily write a short reflection, answer a few simple questions about the piece, or even create their own listening map for another short piece.

Online LIstening Maps for Elementary Music | Distance Learning, Blended Learning, or Classroom

Share this post to help other elementary music teachers find these quality listening maps. Enjoy!

Note: Not all of these listening maps are in English and that is okay. The music and graphic representations transcend the small amount of language.

Types of LIstening Maps

We have classified these listening maps into into 5 basic categories. Each category focuses on a different aspect of music.

  • Instrumental Focus
  • Graphic – Melody
  • Graphic – Texture
  • Form
  • Style

Students already see A LOT of animation for entertainment. For the most part, they ignore the music in this type of video. For this reason, I do not use animated, entertainment-only listening maps in the classroom. Below you will find several different examples of the other types of listening maps that you may want to use in your elementary music classroom.

Listening Maps | Instrumental Focus

The following listening maps highlight the instruments in each piece. This helps students learn the sounds of the instruments of the orchestra and band.

In the Mood, Glen Miller
Fanfare of the Common Man, Aaron Copland
Theme from Star Wars, John Williams

Listening Maps | Graphic – Melody

These graphic listening maps are some of our favorites. They fall into two basic subcategories – melody and texture. The melody listening maps follow the melodic contour while the texture maps are a visual representation of all of the notes. Both types help students make sense of what they are hearing.

Morning (Peer Gynt), Grieg
Cello Suite #1, Bach
Ode to Joy, from Symphony #9, Beethoven


These graphic listening maps are also among our favorites! They help students identify the melodic and harmonic lines. And, the idea of texture becomes visual as well as auditory. These visual representations make it very easy for students to identify thick or thin textures.

Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven
Clair de Lune, Debussy
Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, TCHAIKOVSKY
Aquarium (Carnival of the Animals), SAINTSAËNS 
William Tell Overture, Rossinni
Symphony #5, Beethoven
Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor, Bach


Listening maps also make it very easy to identify form. When students see visual representations of sections of a piece that contrast or repeat, form becomes less abstract and is much easier to understand.

3 Little Birds, Bob Marley
The Elephant (Carnival of the Animals), SaintSaëns 
Theme from “The Pink Panther”, Henry Mancini

Listening Maps | Style

Pairing music with visual representations makes it easier to identify styles as well. Listening maps help students to describe the character of the piece using adjectives such as smooth, connected, short, disconnected, etc.

It is fun to compare and contrast two different listening maps of the same piece of music. This post includes two very different listening maps of the Star Wars Theme.

Blue Danube, Strauss
Fade, Alan Walker
Ride of the Valkyries, Wagner


Be sure to include a variety of styles of music and types of listening maps in your elementary music lesson plans. This helps to appeal to the interests of your students and widen their repertoire and knowledge base. Using listening maps is a great way to introduce your students to music they would probably not hear otherwise.

Share this post to help other elementary music teachers find these quality listening maps.

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